Real estate offers multi-faceted roles for young people
By: Yip Wai Fong
There is a good chance that Generation Z (Gen Z), the digital native generation born in the late 90s and who also care about social impact, will find the right place in a career in real estate, an ever-growing multi-disciplinary industry.
Although most are not of working age yet, both global and local real estate powerhouses are already recognising Gen Z’s unique potential and see matching values between the lot of them and the industry.
One of them is Juwai IQI, a global real estate technology group with more than 30,000 agents worldwide. Its co-founder and managing director Daniel Ho sees Gen Z’s qualities as being technologically savvy, preferring flexibility, and possessing an entrepreneurial spirit.
“Even though Gen Z only makes up about one quarter of Malaysia’s population, they account for nearly a third of Malaysia’s social media users,” Ho said. “In real estate, Gen Z’s digital communication skills are a competitive advantage. (As agents, they) can be Instagram influencers, host their own podcast or host events that appeal to other young people.”
Gen Z at work
As those aged 26 and younger comprise 15% of Juwai IQI’s Malaysia team of agents and negotiators, and other Gen Z individuals fill various other roles at Juwai IQI, Ho was able to observe their strengths and what motivates them.
“We find Generation Z team members can be excellent as agents, but also in business development, marketing, IT, programming and much more. So we do seek to recruit them and offer them the opportunity to join our team,” he said.
“Gen Z tends to be digitally savvy, so we showcase our technology and use social media much more to them. We offer flexibility and work-life balance with an emphasis on career development and training. We want them to know that, with IQI, they will have some immediate opportunities to succeed and a long-term path to even greater achievement,” he added.
Foreward Realty project director Vincent Chan finds Gen Z a very driven group who is attracted to real estate because of its growth and flexible work time. Gen Z makes up about 30% of the agency’s team of negotiators and they are being supervised by a dedicated team of seniors. The agency also has a work structure to ensure new negotiators receive adequate mentorship and guidance.
“We have group meetings up to three days a week where we discuss with the younger team members the challenges they face or do experience sharing and work planning. Senior negotiators will accompany and guide them during the first three appointments with prospects, and by the fourth appointment, they will be expected to deliver a sales presentation themselves but under the observance of a senior negotiator, who will also offer help to close the deal if necessary,” Chan explained.
Gen Z’s unique potential also comes with some issues that may not serve them at work.
“As Gen Z can be impatient and wants to see the financial fruits of their hard work quickly, we often guide them to focus their goal on their annual income so that they can sustain their passion for the work. We remind them very early on that real estate requires dedication and the first six months or the first year requires much more patience and mental endurance,” Chan said.
To ensure Gen Z’s unique talents and as well as quirks can be turned into strengths, global real estate firm JLL Malaysia adopts a culture of diversity that respects each generation’s unique habits and learning paths.
“The JLL Malaysia team has quite a lot of young talents who are learning from their more experienced colleagues. They are brought into the profession by their desire to work with people, learn negotiation skills, and be part of the global corporate culture that allows them to develop their careers. They also benefit from a mature company like JLL offering the latest management techniques, developments, and technology,” head of research and consultancy Yulia Nikulicheva shared.
Chief growth officer Christophe Vicic observed that although Gen Z is naturally proficient in technology, they do need to acquire a stronger suit of industry-specific skills.
“Younger talents tend to have strong presentation skills, which they acquire through their academic studies. Growing up with various devices and apps, they are quick to learn new software and applications required and are creative in applying what they’ve learned into practice in the real estate profession,” Vicic observed.
“When considering (Gen Z), they often need to focus more on hard skills, such as industry-specific real estate market knowledge and project management. Conversely, Generation Z is sometimes referred to as demanding, as they expect flexible work hours and prioritize their free time. However, their familiarity with apps and devices often leads them to suggest using tools that can increase work efficiency, better visualization of the work and faster task completion,” he added.
Success lies in the individual and other’s support
As real estate remains one of the country’s important economic pillars, Nikulicheva said young graduates will be in demand to fill its various roles in engineering, business, accounting, social sciences and many others, including in transactions where she saw a high interest among the younger generation.
For Chan, who himself started his second career in real estate transactions when he was just 26 years old, the industry has been a rewarding place where he learned through ups and downs.
"Rising to becoming a project leader after seven years, I’ve learned to solve problems, to think more about team mission rather than individual goal, and management skills. I’ve thought about quitting when times were down, for example during Covid, but I persisted,” he said.
“For young people in this field, I think those who do well have a support network, perhaps in the family, but more importantly in an agency that has the right system and policies,” he emphasized.